Westpac has confirmed that it is to suspend its $250 million migration to the Hogan banking platform from St George and Bank SA until 2014.
According to Westpac group executive, technology, Bob McKinnon, preliminary planning and design, at a cost of $25 million, had been completed to date on the project, which is designed to provide Westpac with a single platform for term deposits, transactions and saving accounts.
“We had originally intended to begin the migration earlier, however in the interests of better customer service we see greater value in integrating our customer management systems and this has been moved up in our priorities,” McKinnon said, speaking during a market update presentation on Westpac’s ICT spend.
McKinnon also detailed the Westpac’s move to a new online baking platform – provided by Fiserv – stating that it would support more than two million active retail, business and corporate customers, allowing them to manage their personal and business finances through a single site.
“This is more about technology, it is about delivering exceptional customer experiences… It will allow them to do their banking how and when they want be it on a PC, mobile phone or other mobile device like an iPad,” he said.
“It will allow them to better manage their financial affairs by customising the application to suit their personal circumstances and interests. It will allow them to link all their financial relationships or give access to third parties such as their accountant.”
McKinnon also outlined the bank’s BankSMART initiative, aimed at changing the way the Westpac staff interacted with customers.
Under the program, IP telephony will be deployed to more than 800 branches and business banking centres.
More than 500 million paper based signatures will be converted to digital signatures, cutting the time taken to verify a signature from up to 15 minutes down to 30 seconds.
A single integrated desktop will also be implemented across Westpac’s brands beginning with upgraded versions of St George’s teller and call centre platforms to Westpac.
In the coming six months the bank will also look to make Westpac’s integrated collections and case handling platform operational, and St George’s cards acquiring and issuing will be migrated onto the upgraded Westpac platform, thereby allowing the bank to launch new credit card products.
Work to upgrade Westpac’s primary data centre to tier three status and the consolidation of data centres would also continue, McKinnon said.
IBM to be retained
McKinnon added that the bank had also done some major work with partners to realign them to its strategic goals.
"We had not made the best of these over several years and this had to change," he said. "We have particularly focused on our relationships with IBM, Telstra, Optus, Microsoft and Oracle all of which have greatly improved.”
The comments follow suggestions from Westpac CEO Gail Kelly in November last year that the bank was likely to choose not to renew its decade long outsourcing relationship with IBM, due to expire this year, in line with a trend to move away from decade long all-of-IT approaches to sourcing.